Apr 4, 201309:46 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

A New Gumbo and Peche

Not long ago I got an email from a guy named Matt Del Vecchio, alerting me to his start-up, Laugh Eat Foods. He offered to send me a sample of the shelf-stable gumbo they're selling under the brand New Orleans Soup Co. Now when I hear “shelf-stable gumbo,” I'm not immediately going to salivate, but I do like local companies, and Del Vecchio mentioned in a follow-up email that their roux is made with duck fat. I thought I'd give it a shot.

 

Two cartons of Gumbo Ya-Ya arrived a few days after my emails with Del Vecchio. The cartons are made by a company called Tetra-Pak, which claims they're designed to allow sensitive products like milk stay fresh without refrigeration or preservatives for up to 12 months. In New Orleans Soup Co.'s case, they're also pretty cool-looking. The company's name is done in lettering provided by Nolatiles, and there's an image of a streetcar on the front. I liked what I saw on the back, too, which was a list of ingredients that was small and composed of words I can both pronounce and understand.

 

None of that would be terribly important were it not for the fact that the gumbo was actually very good. It's fairly light in color for a gumbo, and pretty thick at room temperature. There was a little oil floating at the top after I tore open the packaging, but I mixed it in before heating it. The soup thinned considerably on being warmed. What was most impressive to me was that there's a background of spiciness to it. It needed a little salt, but that was easily solved. I'm not sure I'd have picked up the duck fat in the roux had I not been told in advance, but it gives a subtle flavor to the dish.

 

You can pick up New Orleans Soup Co.'s Gumbo Ya-Ya at a number of retailers around the city, the current list is available at this link.

 

Pêche, the latest restaurant from chefs Donald Link, Stephen Stryjewski and Ryan Prewitt is slated to open April 18, 2013, and you can check out the menu at the restaurant's website. It's understandably seafood-centric, but what I find interesting is the diversity of the flavors on offer. The raw bar has local oysters, of course, but they're also serving tuna, flounder and shrimp. Shrimp toast and stuffed mussels are among the more interesting snacks, and I'll be checking out the fish collars in chile vinegar and spicy ground shrimp with noodles on the small plates menu. They've got a grill at Pêche, and you can order a whole fish cooked on it, as well as tuna served with olive salad.

 

I'm not entirely sure why I'm describing all of this to you, as the link in the first sentence will take you to the actual menu, and I haven't had a chance to taste any of it so as to give you guidance on what to order. Maybe I'm just looking to fill space? But that doesn't make sense, since there's no space limit or requirement on the internet.

 

I think it's because I simply love typing.

 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

about

Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived here his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.

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